The 5 Stages of a Remote Job Interview Process

Remote Hiring Interview Process

You’ve come to your senses, and you’ve realized that remote hiring is the answer. You save costs for exceptional talent, so why not? Plus, it can’t be that difficult to hire remotely because everyone wants to work from home.  

The truth be told, the process of remote hiring can be frustrating and time-consuming.

The remote hiring meaning drastically changed after 2020. Previously, companies who hired remotely did it because they wanted to hire freelancers who charged lower salaries. On the other hand, they were companies that saw all the benefits of dispersed teams and decided to go for it – yet this wasn’t as common as nowadays. 

During 2020, as most companies transitioned to the remote work model due to the pandemic, more people got to experience what working virtually was like. This led to a significant increase in businesses hiring full-time remote employees.

However, not because someone wants to work from home means that they will be good at it. Every remote employee has certain skills, such as communicating clearly, working independently, and managing time efficiently, making them get results and achieve the team’s goals. But how to know for sure if someone will be an excellent remote employee? The answer is simple: By having a remote interview process. 

5 Stages of the Remote Interview Process

Before starting your remote interview process, always evaluate the reasons why you want to hire someone. This will help you establish the exact position and role the new person will have, and it will be easier to look for skills when making the hiring decision. 

If you have in mind your ideal candidate with the must-have skills and the desired skills, it’s showtime. Here are the 5 stages of the remote interview process:

1. It All Starts with the Job Description

You’ve ever heard that cheesy saying that goes something like ‘Eyes are the doors of the soul’?. Think about job descriptions as the doors of a company.

When you start with your remote hiring process, you need to make sure that the job ad you’re writing explains clearly what the position is about and what are the skills required. Also, explain shortly what your company does and believes (without making an entire testament). This way, you’ll avoid candidates that don’t have what it takes to apply or candidates that don’t align with your company.

Be careful with the terms you use when writing your job description. According to a study conducted by Indeed, when companies use fun titles such as ‘Guru,’ ‘Rockstar,’ ‘Superstar,’ etc., they scare away potential candidates. Those titles sound fun but a bit unprofessional for some, so it’s better to keep things simple and straightforward. 

your business deserves the best talent

2. Let the Recruiting Games Begin!

To hire talented candidates, you need to have an interview process. Start with the basics as stated above, create the job description, and yes, post it everywhere you can think of. But also, instead of waiting for the magic to happen, start recruiting.

At DistantJob, as expert recruiters, we are also expert IT headhunters. If you haven’t heard this term before, don’t be scared, we are not going to take your head off. According to the Cambridge dictionary, headhunting means ‘’To persuade someone to leave their job by offering that person another job with more pay and a higher position’’.

Sometimes it isn’t about the money, but it’s about offering a candidate a new world of possibilities. Imagine finding an extremely talented candidate who is working at a company they don’t feel attached to. You offer them the opportunity to work with a company they do like, and voilà, you hired a talented and compromised candidate.

3. Filtering Candidates the Right Way

CVs exist for a reason. Before starting the interviews and going through questions or testing a remote candidate’s knowledge, CVs allow you to get a hint if a candidate has what it takes to perform successfully. In other words, it makes you save time. But instead of overviewing a candidate’s CV quickly, it’s important to take the time to analyze it. 

At DistantJob, we care about the details of the CVs we share with our clients, so we will analyze each profile and double-check key information with candidates. All this before, even considering interviewing them. This way, we ensure that the people we send to our clients meet the position’s requirements and would enjoy the job.

Keep in mind that besides analyzing the CV, other key strategies can help you make up your mind when filtering which candidates, such as: 

  • References: If a CV caught your eye, but you’re still unsure, you could ask for references. Call, for example, their former boss or co-worker and ask them some questions about how the candidates worked or their primary tasks. 
  • Small project: This depends on what type of position you’re looking for. But let’s say you need a designer. To make sure you like the way they work and to test their abilities, you could ask them to do a small project, like designing an online banner, for example. That way, you see if 1) They deliver on time and 2) They have what it takes to do the job.

4. Remote Interviews

If you think online interviews are awkward, then you’re not the only one. But also, there’s a slight chance you’re doing things wrong.

Online interviews should always be with the camera on; that way, you can establish a deeper connection with candidates instead of just talking like if you were a robot. Also, don’t try to mimic the onsite experience online, because honestly, it’s impossible. Instead of trying to emulate reality digitally, embrace the new virtual setting.

Tip: Start the interview with ice breaker questions to make the environment smooth, and then continue with the position’s questions.

Remote interviews should always be planned out methodologically. This means setting an hour and platform (Meets, Zoom, Skype, etc.) with the candidates. Also, make sure to start the interview, knowing what your objectives are. Just as in virtual meetings (and any other meetings), you have goals you want to accomplish. In this case, it’s to find out if a candidate is a good fit. Ask yourself:

  • What does it take for a candidate to be a great fit? 
  • What skills should they have? (Negotiable and non-negotiable skills)
  • What personal traits do you highly value?
  • What can this candidate bring to the company?

Don’t wait till the last minute to plan things out! 

5. Successfully Onboarding New Hires   

Did you know that onboarding increases your retention and productivity rate? According to Glassdoor, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

At DistantJob, we realized that seven days is the average amount of time for an employee to integrate and adapt to a company’s culture and workflow. After ten years we finally got the hang of it, and created a guide about it, for you to check. So, during these days, it’s the perfect opportunity to set up meetings with them, explain how things work in the company, set up your expectations, and try to keep things as clear as possible. 

Here are some of our tips to successfully onboard new hires:

  • Have everything ready: If you don’t have an onboarding process, it’s time to make one. That way, you don’t need to do one every time you hire a remote employee.
  • Focus on the essential aspects: This means, have all the tedious but necessary documentation ready—for example, the contract, the information of the employee, the communication guidelines, etc.
  • Tools: Make time to explain what tools they will be using; that way, when they start fully working, they already know how everything works.
  • Culture: Culture is a tricky aspect when it comes to remote hiring. Culture is not just a system of beliefs in a company; it’s how you build connection in a company. So, you can set a call with your team and introduce them to their new team member. Or, to make it more fun, you can set up a happy hour and drink beer while getting to know each other.  

Struggling with Your Remote Interview Process?

We know remote hiring can get frustrating. As a business manager, you need a close-knit team to grow and expand your company. Hiring in virtual teams isn’t only about skills and expertise but also about sharing ethics and vision.  While someone who fits your company culture can increase productivity and enthusiasm, bad hires are expensive, drain energies, kill productivity, and, in the long run,  drag the company down.

As a matter of fact, a CareerBuilder survey shows that 74% of companies reporting an average of $14,900 in lost income simply hired the wrong person. No matter how established your organization is, bad hires negatively affect your productivity and your team. Especially in a virtual environment, where bonding and communication are crucial to build trust and establish a productive flow. 

These are the 3 virtual hiring key strategies you should keep in mind when scaling your team: 

3 Strategies to Hire the Best Virtual Employees 

1. Define Your Company Culture

At DistantJob, we have written a lot about culture (and discussed it on our podcast) because it’s really what makes a difference in a company. How team members work together doesn’t depend only on technical skills. Kinship and affinity are equally important, especially in the long run. Can you think of Frodo without Sam to help him out?

Before hiring a new team member, you need to understand your existing team culture, your beliefs, and the purpose of your company. Ask yourself:

  • Which is your company’s vision? 
  • What culture dynamics are you seeking for your team?
  • How will your values help your company’s growth?
  • What is the plan for the company’s growth?
  • What kind of people will I be able to work with daily?

Especially with virtual teams, people come from diverse locations and backgrounds. With the spread of digitalization and globalized industries, for many remote businesses, international teams are almost a requirement. Diversity can be a winning card, but you still need people able to communicate with each other. When looking for a new remote team member, look for what we call a good culture fit

These questions are important to understand at which stage you’re at. Starting the hiring process in war times is damage as much as a bad hire — especially when people don’t understand each other. In virtual teams, defining your culture is the first step to attract people that can see themselves in the company – and not just looking for a job to pay out bills. 

2. Look for Strong Communication! (On Both Sides)

Hiring virtual employees for dislocated teams requires even more attention to communication than office settings. How a candidate interacts with you and other team members is a key indicator for future collaborations.

When someone often looks away from the camera, you already know that you’re dealing with someone quite shy. If the next one is sitting too relaxed, you know this candidate is fairly confident – or arrogant? 

Both personalities can be great. The real question is: which one has a better chance to integrate quickly with the rest of your team? 

During a video interview, you can already spot communication skills. Even through a screen, you can study body language and the attention in answering your questions. Hiring a virtual employee also means being a good storyteller to illustrate your mission. Communicating culture helps to find the right language to attract candidates sharing your values.

Being clear and upfront about your core mission will screen out non-cultural fit candidates likely to lose interest soon or over time. 

virtual employee

3. Value the Process and Focus on Results

One of the main questions related to remote work is how to monitor employees. On these eight working hours, an average team member produces around 3 hours. Main reason? Distractions.

A team member sitting on a chair for eight hours without moving from the computer isn’t necessarily productive. As DistantJob’s President Sharon Kofiman stated in his book Surviving Remote Work: ‘If we can’t measure time, what can we measure? And along the same line of questions: What is the bottleneck? what we should be measuring is the output, the amount of work produced, and the bottleneck, in this case, is the distraction.

During the remote hiring process, be specific about your goals and what you want from the role. Rather than pushing on working hours, ask your candidates their usual methodologies and tools. Delivery time can change based on expertise and experience. Focussing on the quality of deliveries and due dates, rather than counting every minute, is a better strategy to help your team members manage time and avoid distractions. 

If you communicate well your values and mission, as we said at the beginning, your candidates will be already interested in your vision, When you find someone who can really communicate with your team, you will never need to count hours — you will just see the results!

Last Thoughts on Remote Work

The research we mention at the beginning showed how bad hires impact companies’ incomes. The worst part of all is that a bad hire not only affects your budget but also it’s a waste of time and energy for you and your team.

At DistantJob, we take care of everything. Our headhunters ( yes, you might need a headhunter, we explained their importance here ) can find exceptional talent for you and your team. We look for candidates that not only match the skills you’re looking for but also integrate with your company’s culture and processes.

If you don’t have the time to start with a remote interview process, but you want to hire the best talent, we are here to help you find the best remote tech candidates!

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Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman believes every company, from the biggest enterprise to the newly-launched garage startup, should have access to world’s top talent. That’s why he used over 10 years of experience in tech industry recruitment & HR to create DistantJob. His unique recruitment model allows DistantJob’s clients to get high quality IT experts working remotely at a fraction of the usual cost - with no red tape and within two weeks.